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Vincent Poag

Circling Back

Review by Gary Hill

Let’s address the 800 pound gorilla in the room right off the bat. The most obvious reference on this album is Bob Dylan because Poag’s vocals are quite similar to Dylan’s. The folk sounds that dominate the disc are also in keeping with Dylan references. The thing is, that doesn’t necessarily make this a Dylan copy. It’s more like using Dylan as a starting point and building from there. Other musical concepts include Randy Newman and various singer songwriters. This is an interesting album that never gets repetitive or boring. Poag changes it up enough from song to song to make it work every time.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Confidence Thrill

The musical elements here are clearly folk, and it reminds me a lot of something from John Flynn. The vocals, of course, are quite Bob Dylan-like with the same nasally delivery. This is a dramatic and powerful tune. The arrangement includes some strings to add to the power and emotion of the cut.

Let Me In
There’s a more developed rhythm section here. This song isn’t as dramatic or powerful as the previous one, but it’s fun. There’s a lot of country music in the mix here. Later, though, it gets a little jazz and rag-time added to the arrangement.
Eat My Shorts
A playful, shuffling folk arrangement makes up the motif for this number. It’s a cool cut that works well as a bit of variety. Of course, the one thing that hasn’t changed is the vocal delivery.
Fence Around Your Mind
A more spoken cut, this is very definitely rooted in old school folk traditional music. The vocals here still have the Dylan aspect, but there are other leanings, too. While this isn’t necessarily the strongest cut here, the variety it provides goes a long way toward elevating it.
Here’s a cut that’s not that different from the previous one. Strings and a mostly spoken vocal arrangement create the basis for this piece, along with the acoustic guitar and a few other elements.
This Christmas
Here’s a pretty ballad with a lot of strings and piano serving as the main backdrop. It’s a tasty number and I like it a lot. While the lyrics would make it sort of a holiday only tune, it’s one of the highlights of the set.
Mountain Lion
Now, here’s real change of pace. This is kind of a slow shuffling jazz number that’s a lot of fun.

There’s a bit of a singer songwriter element to this piece, but the folk leanings are still here. In some ways this calls to mind Jimmy Buffett, particularly after the tuned percussion joins. It’s kind of like Bob Dylan singing with Buffett’s band.

Lawless Lady
Featuring Diana Hope providing all the vocals, this is the most rocking tune on show, but there’s also some violin bringing it towards country at times and jazz at other points. This is one of the highlights of the set.
What's the Matter With You
Bouncy and playful, there’s a lot of Dixieland jazz and some of the kind of craziness often practiced by Frank Zappa here. It’s another cool bit of variety.
Little One
A slow moving, mellow folk tune, this is cool.
I'll Be Seeing You Soon
There’s a slow moving, rather hard rocking sound to this piece. It’s even got some bluesy harmonica work and some elements that are rather progressive rock like. All in all, it’s one of the highlights and makes a great closer.
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